Washington, D.C. Ralston Publishing Company, 1898. Stated seventh edition. 8vo, original textured wrappers, 176 pages. Illus. Wrappers worn and soiled; some light general wear; a good, sound copy. Item #14452
The entrepreneurial Webster Edgerly (who also wrote under the pseudonyms of Edmund Shaftesbury and Dr. Everett Ralston) concocted a semi-mystic commonsense-diet secret society devoted to health and vitality and personal electricity--a simple diet, avoiding the yellow press, and conservation of vital force appear to have been central principles--but the real key to the success was perhaps in its trappings of a secret society, complete with oaths and certificates and an escutcheon suitable for use on personal stationery; members could advance along the 25 degrees of membership in the Universal Fraternity of Ralstonites as they mastered the ten "Ralston Principles," the "nine great laws of nature," and (perhaps key to the whole system) the secret of producing GLAME in their own bodies. From the publication of the first printed edition (the "second edition" of 1882), Edgerly met with such growth and success that he opened a university along Ralston lines in Washington, D.C. and eventually boasted a membership in excess of 800,000 and an endorsement deal with Purina. Atwater 2912 (this edition).